Desiree S. Evans

Gulf South Writer in the Woods Special Collaborations Artistic
Type of work

As the third Gulf South Writer in the Woods, Desiree S. Evans worked to complete a dystopian literary fantasy novel set hundreds of years into the future along what remains of the Gulf Coast. The novel tells the story of an African-American woman and her family surviving in a post-climate change world where most of Louisiana is under water. In this phantasmagorical new landscape, monsters of myth and legend converge alongside stories of our past and dreams of our possible futures. As a work of speculative fiction and eco-fabulism, the novel makes its home alongside the growing canon of literature exploring the effects of anthropogenic climate change. Desiree will also spend time during her residency editing her short-fiction collection — an interlinked series of stories steeped in the folklore, mythology, and history of the bayou communities of rural Louisiana. As a Louisiana native, the Gulf South region plays an important role in Desiree’s writing. In taking readers into her speculative Southern landscapes, she aims to showcase the rich heritage and cultural traditions of a place that is sometimes more water than land. Desiree’s stories exist in a space where storms and rivers rage, where ancestors call, and where magic just might be real enough to touch.

Desiree S. Evans is an award-winning writer, scholar, and activist from South Louisiana. She writes fiction for children, teens, and adults. She is a 2020 winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant for children’s fiction awarded by the organization We Need Diverse Books. She is a contributor to the anthology Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA (Algonquin Young Readers, 2020). Her creative writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and has appeared in literary journals such as Gulf Coast, The Offing, Nimrod Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, and other venues. Her work has received support from the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA/Voices), Kimbilio Fiction, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, the Hurston/Wright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Desiree holds an MFA in creative writing from the Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin, an MA in international policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a BA in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

“The residency offered me time, space, and support to work on my novel project. The location was inspiring, and it made a great backdrop for writing about the environment. I’ll remember the thunderous feel of April rainstorms late at night and the nightly chorus of frogs and insects.” – Desiree S. Evans

Gulf South Writer in the Woods, a program of A Studio in the Woods and the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, supports the creative work, scholarship and community engagement of writers examining the Gulf South region.